It is quite two years since my name appeared among the...

Newcastle (Eng.) Weekly Chronicle

It is quite two years since my name appeared among the contributors to "Open Council." During my wanderings I have visited many of our most important cities and industrial towns, and in many of these latter I have heard great lamentation from the clergy, who appear to be universally afflicted with the one complaint—empty churches. For some years there has raged an epidemic of microscopic congregations, and numerous discussions, both in and out of the press, have sprung up throughout the country as to the cause of it; but many of the reasons given are far from satisfactory to the thinker. Principally is urged the church's lack of sympathy with the working masses. Some venture the assertion that the destructive criticism of the "higher critics," combined with the steady and increasing power of the rationalistic and socialistic movements, is producing the effect. Whatever be the cause, the fact is there, and the incessant bewailing on the part of the clergy and interested laity seems to have little effect.

One thing appears to have been entirely overlooked in these discussions; that is, that while it is desperately true that church attendance has diminished by leaps and bounds, yet there is no indication of a corresponding diminution in the spirituality of the nation. How to account for this perplexing state of things, this anomaly of anomalies, is the problem we have to tackle. Personally, I believe the solution is not far to seek. The church has been too slow in seizing its opportunities to bring its theology into correlation with advanced thought. In other words, the teachings of the church are too antiquated to be compatible with the modern trend of thought. and consequently all thinking people are seeking elsewhere for their spiritual food ... That true spirituality, far from decaying, is enjoying a rapid ascent and receiving fresh impetus each day, will be made apparent to any one interested enough to study the rise and development of such purely metaphysical movements as theosophy and Christian Science. That is specially true of the progress of the latter, as it is of more recent origin and is certainly more spiritual in its essence.

Let me add that I am not a member of that body, but speak merely as one who has investigated its claims as an advanced religion. In my opinion, it has proudly vindicated itself from the unjust and totally unwarranted accusations of the materialistic and theological schools of criticism. Preeminently it stands as a magnificent demonstration of divine Christianity—the religion which was metamorphosed into a farce centuries ago by Constantine. I have attended services in many a place, but nowhere have I seen the spirit of Christ manifested as it is in the tiny "Science" church. The metaphysical interpretation of the sacred writings appeals more to the thinking classes of today, and it is neither to be wondered at nor deplored that people are breaking from the primitive ideas of our forefathers. Rather does it herald a healthier and purer age.

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February 24, 1912

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